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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  June 15, 2016 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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of the presidential candidates is proposing, but part of the reason we are demanding a vote on these measures is because these are the right ways to respond. there is a late ant fear in the american public that is understandable. there is a wrong way to respond to that that will frankly make us less safe. there is a right way to respond. and i think the american public gets that because of the 90% approval ratings of the things that we're proposing. so i thank the senator, and i would yield to the senator from wisconsin for a question without losing my right to the floor. ms. baldwin: through the chair, i would like to ask a question about the tragic massacre in orlando, but i wanted to lead into that by first of all thanking and deeply appreciating the work and efforts of my colleague from connecticut who has come to the floor so many
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times to talk about the lives and the identities and the legacies of the people who have lost their lives to gun violence and the families that are there to remember them, and, you know, i remember so profoundly the massacre at newtown. senator murphy brought photographs of all of the victims, their families, told their stories at length on this senate floor. as weeks and months persisted here in the united states senate, and no action was taken
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to do commonsense things to make access to these weapons more difficult, the senator from connecticut started coming to the floor and talking about some of the people that we don't read about because the media doesn't rush to the scene when somebody dies in a drive-by shooting or in a place that doesn't garner the attention, the spotlight like the massacre and tragedy in orlando has garnered by the national media. so i -- i thank the gentleman from connecticut for his perseverance, and i am just so proud to join him this afternoon
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in this insistence for action. you know, i am in such strong agreement with the senator from connecticut about the need to close what we call the terror gap and strengthen our background check laws, because what we have seen over the last weeks and certainly on sunday early morning is the nexus of hate and terror and easy access to weapons of war by people who should not have them, and i can't tell you how many times i have penned the words you are in my thoughts and prayers, and i have spoken the words you are in my heart, in my thoughts, in my prayers. i can't tell you how many times
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i have joined during my former service in the house of representatives or here in the united states senate and join my colleagues for a moment of silence. silence is not enough. thoughts and prayers are important, but they are not enough. we have to act. and so i -- i join many of my colleagues here tonight in the effort towards securing a vote, securing a vote by this senate on making it harder, just a little bit harder for people who hate people involved in terrorism to get a hold of weapons of war. and we have an opportunity because we have a bill before us. it's the commerce, justice,
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science appropriations bill. i have the honor of serving on the senate appropriations committee and being a member of the subcommittee, and this is the moment. this is the bill, and this is our opportunity. now, i'm not saying had this been in law a year ago, a month ago, a week ago, that this wouldn't have happened, but our silence is unacceptable, and we must act. we are better than this as a country. i can't tell you how many times i have woken up or heard midday of another mass killing. crowd around the television set, hungry for news, wanting to know about who perished, who is in
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the hospital and when is it enough? when are we going to act? we also in the political world so regrettably fall into our -- i don't know what to call it -- comfort zones. let's only talk about this as a terrorist incident or let's only talk about this as a hate crime or let's only talk about this in terms of gun violence. this is all of the above, and we have to come together. we have to be united. we have to be strong in order to respond. i also have to speak as a member of the lgbt community.
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on friday, this last friday, i had the honor of going to the opening ceremonies at milwaukee, wisconsin, pridefest. they were celebrating their 30th year of pridefest. in preparing for what i was going to say at that opening same, i reflected on how different things were 30 years ago in 1986. that was actually the year i was first elected to local office. and i didn't have a lot of colleagues who were in the lgbt community in america let alone the world at that point in time. boy, we have changed. we have seen such progress. but after celebrating the opening of pridefest in
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milwaukee, i woke up on sunday morning, as we all did, to this horrific, this horrific tragedy in orlando. a hate crime is a crime that targets a particular audience, a particular group in order to send terror throughout that community, not just the victims but all who share characteristics with the victims, and in a month, june, which is pride month to usually celebrate how far we have come over oppression, over discrimination, over hate
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crimes, to wake up and see this was truly unspeakable. and back to the legislating we do on the senate floor, i was be supporting a number of amendments on this appropriations bill, the one that i came to ask senator murphy about, but additionally, an amendment that would add resources to the department of justice to help both prevent and investigate and enforce our nation's hate crimes laws, and i hope those will earn votes also. i will be supporting the amendment of a colleague, the senator from -- senator casey from pennsylvania relating to
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including misdemeanor hate crimes in the list of offenses that should prohibit individuals from being able to acquire, possess weapons of war. but back to our focus right now. our focus right now is on getting a vote on closing the terror gap, getting a vote on making sure that background checks occur with regard to every purchase so that you can't run to -- you can't be rejected from purchasing a weapon and then run to the internet and purchase a weapon that way or run to a gun show and purchase a
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weapon that way outside of the background check system. one of the things that is so important, as i started by mentioning, is when the senator from connecticut came to the floor and showed the faces and read the names and told the stories of the victims of gun violence, massacres in connecticut and in locations all over the united states, and i have been so moved as i have had the opportunity to see the media begin to share with us information about the names and the lives of the 49 victims of
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this hateful attack. and through the chair, i want to ask senator murphy a question about these 49 victims of this tragedy. luis daniel conte, 39 years old and juan p. rivera velazquez, 37 years old. luis originally from san lorenzo, puerto rico, was with his loving partner, juan p. rivera velazquez at pulse. both men were killed in the shooting. luis was known by his loved ones as a fun-loving person with a great sense of humor.
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juan also originally from puerto rico was the owner of the magazine salon and spa in kissimmee, florida. simon andrew carrero fernandez was 31, and oscar a.monterro was 26. simon was a manager at mcdonald's. he was well loved. he was known for bringing in cakes to celebrate birthdays of each and every employee. simon and his partner oscar were killed just after returning home from vacation in niagara falls. christopher andrew vignonin, 32
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years old, and juan ramon guerrero, 22 years old. christopher andrew, who went by drew, was with his partner juan ramon at the time of the shooting. both men died. drew had a bachelor's and master's degree from the university of central florida and founded a gay-straight alliance in his high school. akyra monet murray. akyra was 18 and a recent graduate of west catholic preparatory high school in philadelphia where she was a top student and a top athlete on the women's basketball team. she had recently signed to play
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at mercyhurst college in pennsylvania. jean carlos mendez perez was 35, and luis daniel wilson-leon was 37. jean and luis were loving partners. both men were killed in the shooting. the families of both men took to facebook to share their love and sadness. edward sotomayor, jr., was 34. edward handled brand management for al and chuck travel, an
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agency that plans vacations for the lgbtq community. on hearing the news of edward's death, his boss al ferguson spent time with edward's family at the hospital. he died while urging his partner to exit the club doors to get to safety. leroy valentin fernandez, leroy was 25 years old. he was a leasing agent at an orlando apartment complex and a vibrant performer who loved beyonce, adele, and jennifer lopez. his friend described her grief, it just feels very quiet now.
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rodolfo ayala-ayala, 33. rodolfo was a biologics assistant at the one blood donation center, a donation center that has been working to supply blood to the survivors of the shooting. his friend described him as compassionate and said that he loved his career. brenda lee mar cez mccool, 49 years old. she was a two-time cancer survivor and real estate agent. she was a mother of 11 and was at pulse with one of her sons for a night of dancing.
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angel luis padro. angel was 28. he moved to orlando from chicago and started a job as an op that will mick -- opthalmic technician only four days before the shooting. he's from puerto rico and described himself online as adventurous, easy going, and responsible. antonio davon brown. antonio was a captain in the u.s. army reserve. he had previously been a member of the army officers training corps at florida a&m university. he was 29.
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stanley almodovar iii, age 23. originally from massachusetts, stanley worked as a pharmacy technician in claremont, flori florida. friends have been taking to social media to comment on his bubbly and down to earth personality. amanda alvear. amanda was 25. amanda was a beloved sister and godmother. before the shooting, amanda posted videos to snapchat showing herself and a friend mercedes flores dancing and enjoying themselves at pulse. mercedes was another victim of
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the shooting. daryl ramon burt ii, age 29. darryl was a financial aid officer at kaiser university and a passionate volunteer. the president of the jacksonville jaycees which he was a member of described him as always interested in a positive impact on people's lives in the community. juan chevez-martinez, 25 years old. juan, a davenport resident was known by his colleagues as a kind and loving person. facebook lists his hometown in mexico. cory james connell, cory was 21
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and well loved. his teachers described him as their all time favorite student. his brother took to facebook to share his grief. the world lost an amazing soul today. god just got one of the best angels. anthony luis desla. anthony was 25. he was a graduate of the university of the sacred heart in puerto rico where he studied education. he was also a well known drag artist in orlando performin pers alonas lorel.
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deonka deidra drayton, age 32. deonka was known as dede and was working at pulse when the massacre occurred according to a family member. senseless, her aunt wrote on facebook. rest in peace, dede. know this, auntie will miss you. mercedez marisol flores. she was age 26. mercedez was at pulse with her friend amanda alvear when the shooting occurred. she was a student at valencia community college and worked at the local target. peter o. gonzalez-cruz. peter was 22. peter worked at u.p.s. and spent
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his high school years in new jersey. on facebook his mother thanked everyone for reaching out and expressed deep and immense pain at the loss of her son. miguel angel honorato. miguel was 30, a resident of apopa, florida. he worked for mexican catering. on facebook his brother wrote, i can't face the fact that my blood brother is gone. may your soul rest in peace, brother. i love you so much.
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javier jorge-reyes was age 40. javier of orlando worked as a supervisor at gucci. he was originally from gu puerto rico and discovered at the universe of dellsagado. said once facebook friend, your energy and love of life and of all things beautiful was infectious. you were one of a kind, end quote. jason benjamin josaphat. jason was 19 and an ambitious young man with many passions. computers, athletics and
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photography. jason's uncle described him as very excited about his journey. eddie justice, eddie justice was 30 years old. he was an accountant and loved to make other people smile. he was able to text his mother right before he died on sunday saying that he loved her and to call the police. hall han grow -- alejandro barrios martinez, age 21. a cuban source described him as always very positive. he was able to contact his
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family at pulse before he died. gilberto ramon silva menendez, age 25. gilberto studied health care management at anna g. mendez university and worked as a sales associate at speedway. he was originally from menati, puerto rico. k.j. morris. k.j. was 37 years old. c. j. was a bounce -- k.j. was a bouncer at pulse known for her excellent dancing and a smile that could light up a room. she previously lived in massachusetts. luis omar cassio cape poe --
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omar ocasio-capo. omar, age 20, loved to dance and dreamed of becoming a performer. he grew up in nashville, tennessee, and worked at a local target and starbucks. eric ivan ortiz-rivera, age 36, originally from puerto rico, eric worked at a party city and sunglasses hut. he had been married about a year and on sunday morning, his his band frantically -- husband frantically called friends and family when he couldn't connect with eric. joel rayon paniagua. joel was 32 years old, loved dancing and is remembered as humble and cheerful. he was also a religious man and
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attended church in winter gardens. enrique l. rios, jr., age 25. enrique was from brooklyn, new york, and he was vacationing in orlando at the time of the attack. he had been working as a coordinator at true care home health care and studied social work at st. francis college. his mother and her family has been torn apart. xavier emmanuel serrano rosado. xavier was 35 years old. he was the father of a young son and worked as an entertainer at splash bar in panama city beach,
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florida. he was a mentor to many of his coworkers who described him as quick with a smile. shane evan tomlinson, age 33. shane was a gifted singer who performed as the front man for the band frequency. he had a vibrant and cares maltic -- charismatic stage presence. it was at pulse following a performance at a local club. martin benitez torres. martin was 33 years old and from san juan, puerto rico, where he studied at the anna g. mendez university system. he was in orlando visiting
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family. franky jimmy velazquez, age 50. franky was a visual merchandiser at forever 21 and studied at interuniversity in puerto rico. his family took to facebook to share their love of franky saying what happened in orlando affects all of us because it is an act of hate against the freedom to be who you are. louis s. vielma. luis was 22, a student at seem million to state clenl and worked as an operator for universal studios harry potter and the forbidden journey ride.
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gerald arthur wright. gerald was 31 and was employed at walt disney world and was well-loved by both of his families, his biological one and his disney family. he was at pulse to celebrate a friend's birthday. tevin eugene cross by. tevin was a michigan native and 25 years old. he was the ambitious owner of total entrepreneurs concepts. he was visiting orlando after traveling to watch his nieces and nephews graduate. jonathan antonio camuy vega.
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he was 24 and worked for a spanish tv network as a producer of a popular children's talent competition. he was a member of the national association of hispanic journallallists in puerto rico before he moved to florida. jean carlos mieves rodriguez was 27. a manager at a local mcdonald's, he was known for being incredibly dependable. his closest friends describe him as "just a caring, loving guy, just like a big teddy bear." yilmary rodriguez solivan, age 24.
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yilmary was a mother, a sister. mother of two sons. her sister described her as the most loving and caring person you could ever meet. saying her smile lit up the room and her laughter brought a smile to your heart. frankie hernandez escalante. fringy wa-- franky was a lovingg brother who taught his sisters how to walk in heels and do their hair and makeup. franky has a tattoo on his upper right arm reading "love has no gender." and frankie moved to orlando from louisiana.
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enrique l.rios jr., age 25. enrique from brooklyn, new york, was vacationing in orlando at the time of the attack. he had been working as a coordinator at truecare home health kaish and studied social work at st. francis college. his mother describes their family has been torn apart. there are three more names that i will read and tell you just a little bit about, who lost their lives in that massacre on early
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sunday morning in orlando. paul terrell henry was 41. paul was planning to return to college. he was a chicago native and loved dancing and playing pool. he had two children, including a daughter who had just graduated from high school. christopher joseph santilez. he worked at a local bank and was known for having a positive outlook on life. he was very close to his family and told family members earlier in the weekend that he planned to go to pulse with friends. geraldo a. ortiz-jimenez, age 25. gear rail dough, known as --
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geraldo, known as "drake" to his friends, was originally from santo domingo in the dominican republic and studied law at the university of law in caroline. now, through the chair, you'd like to ask senator murphy a question about the 45 victims of this tragedy. the senator is someone who has come to this floor and read the names, shared the images and told the stories of so many in our country who have lost their lives to gun violence, you agree that the time to act is now and our thoughts and prayers for their deaths are important but
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not enough. mr. murphy: i thank the senator for the time she's taken to talk about each of these beautiful individuals, these young men and women who went to a dangs club to celebrate their lives and their friends and pride month and who will never ever walk the face of this earth again. their friends and family will never get to celebrate these individuals' live, and it is a reminder, as you talk about who these people are individually, that as much as we talk about the statistics -- the 30,000 that die every year, the 80 a day -- that yo you could tell te story of other people whose live will never be the same because of this tragedy. you could put up two of those
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charts every single day. that's what so scary. we are fixated on this tragedy but you could put up that chart every other day and it is foreign tell their stories, to tell who they were because hopefully that's part of the imperative for us to act. thank you, senator balanced wifn. -- thank you, senator baldwin. senator udall has been patient and on the floor. i know wref others who are wait be to speak. yet me yield for a question to senator udall, who's been a great friend on this issue, without losing my right to the floor. mr. udall: thank you, senator murphy. i really appreciate your leadership and your effort to see that the united states senate addresses commonsense gun legislation. and probably you know it's around the hour when people are getting home and they're wondering why we're here, why the senator is choosing to hold
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the floor in this extended debate. and people should know, our nation has seen a string of gun tragedies. the senator's home state of connecticut saw the horrific sandy hook shooting of young children. in san bernardino we saw an isil-inspired terrorist attack. this terrorist slaughtered his former coworkers and innocent people. in orlando, a disturbed man, perhaps disturbed by isil, murdered 49 people in cold blood. this was an assault on the lgbt community, a hate crime. and in the last week in my home state of new mexico, we've seen some terrible gun tragedies, a man is now accused of murdering his woif and four children -- his wife and four children in roswell, new mexico. there are some tragedies. they all have different reasons. but one thing that almost all of us agree on is that we must do
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more to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of people who mean harm to others or to themselves. you should have to pass a background check to buy a gun. and if you are a risk to others because of a history of making threats or because you may be affiliated with a known terrorist organization, law enforcement should be able to step in and prevent you from buying weapons. so the senator, the first thing i wanted to ask for people who are just tuning in right now, what are the two amendments that you're seeking to vote on today? and how would they help stem this tide of horrific violence that we're seeing across the country and as you have continually pointed out happens every day? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for the question. it's simple. we're asking for the two sides of the aisle here to come
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together and bring us votes on a bill that would prevent individuals who are on the terrorist watch lists, the no no-fly list, to prevent them from being able to purchase firearms. and then, second, to expand out those purchases that are covered by background checks to places where gun sales have migrated, which is largely gun shows and internet sales. these are both measures that are supported broadly by the american people. and to the senator from new mexico, we're asking, you know, for more thank just votes on these issues. we think there's common ground that can be achieved. we don't think there's any excuse why we can't come together and figure out a way to get these passed. we've taken votes in the past, and votes are important and a vote would be important if we took it, but what would be more important is to bridge our differences. there are plenty of time who aren't on the floor today who can make that happen so that we can pass legislation rather than
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just debate and vote on it. i yield to the senator for additional question. mr. udall: does the senator -- and i would ask this through the chair. my offices in new mexico today have received many calls asking why democrats are on the floor debating the second amendment. and i'd like to ask the senator from connecticut if this is an accurate assessment of today's debate: it's my understanding -- and i believe most of my colleagues would gray -- that the supreme court has settled this issue. congress can't take away that right. president obama can't take away that right. what we are doing here today is taking steps to ensure that dangerous people are not able to buy a gun. is that the senator's understanding? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for this clarification. you know, i in fact don't think there's anything about this debate that we're having that's,
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as they would describe it a debate about the second amendment. there's nodispute that the second amendment now in the wake of the heller decision guarantees the right of an individual to own a firearm. that is the law of the land. but that same decision very explicitly makes it clear that it is within the right of congress to put parameters around that right to make sure, for instance, that criminals or would-be criminals don't get access to firearms. and so this certainly is not a debate about the second amendment. the second amendment is clear. right now as interpreted by the supreme court, it guarantees an individual's right to a firearm with reasonable conditions placed upon it by congress. and so we are simply debating the extension of a widely accepted condition on the second amendment, which is the inability of criminals and as we are debating today individuals on the terrorist watch list to own a gun. mr. udall: thank you, senator murphy. i would ask an additional
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question here. last week, several of us announced the we the people reform package. i plan to introduce that bill tomorrow. that includes several pieces. it has senator whitehouse's disclose act, which would require mandatory disclosure of all special interest campaign donations. it also includes senator -- my good friend senator bennet's legislation to strengthen lobby laws. i bring this up because i think it highlights the reason for congress' inaction on gun violence. we've been here before, after the tragedy in your state, senator murphy, of sang did i hook. we -- of sandy hook. we stade here and debated many of the same issues. limiting the capacity of magazines and things that should have been passed but weren't. and i'd like to ask my friend from connecticut, do you think our inability to pass commonsense gun safety
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legislation is in this way connected to the flood of money in our campaigns from special interests? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for the question. i think the flood of special interest money into politics is the answer for lots of things -- for why lots of things don't happen here. frankly, it is why a. things do happen here. you are spot on that part and parcel of this conversation is a conversation about reforming the way in which influence is exerted in this place. something's wrong when 90% of the american public say that they want expanded background checks. something is wrong when 75% of the american public say they want people on the no-fly list to be prohibited from buying guns and we don't act on it. i can't give you specific diagnosis as to why that is but it certainly speaks to the need for the reform that you're talking about. mr. udall: i would ask for one additional question through the chair. many new mexicans live in very
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rural areas near the border with mexico. carrying a gun isn't unusual in these areas. it's a different way of life than in connecticut or anywhere on the east coast. for example, the entire state of connecticut is about 5,500 square miles with a population of 3.5 million. hidalgo county, one of our 33 counties in new mexico is almost 35,000, 3,500 square miles and has a population of less than 5,000. many of the ranches there are tens of thousands of acres. they're in the remote boot heel area of the state, a region that is divided by mountain ranges and borders on mexico on two sides. so i understand why many new mexicans feel safer carrying a firearm. they might be miles from the closest help. it might take law enforcement a significant time to reach them. so i certainly don't want to do anything to infringe on their right to protect themselves with
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a firearm. but i would ask my friend from connecticut who has worked on this issue so long and understands this so well would any of the proposals we're asking to get a vote on take away their rights to purchase or own a firearm? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for the question. i'll forgive the disparagement of connecticut's small size, but the answer, of course, is no. the only limitation would be that if any of those individuals were not permitted to fly because they were on the terrorist watch list, they would not be able to purchase a gun. but in 2015 there were only 200-some-odd individuals who were on the no-fly list that attempted to buy a gun. other than that limitation, and i imagine there are very few ranchers and i imagine there are no ranchers that are on that list, there are no limitations. i yield to my good friend, the senator from colorado, for a question without losing my right to the floor.
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mr. bennet: thank you. i ask the senator from connecticut, though it's tempting to disparage the size of connecticut being from colorado, i certainly won't do that. i'd ask through the chair, senator, what is the biggest concern used about requiring universal background checks on gun sales? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for that question. i talked with senator manchin about this earlier today. much of the concern i hear from individuals is that it is somehow a slippery slope that eventually leads to the government confiscating weapons, and that is a mythology that has been created out of whole cloth by individuals that have something to gain from selling a story of perpetual fear of the government. and of course there's no evidence over the history of the national criminal assistant background check system that that is the case. and so i think that the root of
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people's opposition is in a fear about a hidden agenda from the government, which as you and i know is simply not the truth. all the criminal background check system is there to do is to protect the public by keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals. i yield for another question. mr. bennet: i appreciate the answer to that question. i come to the floor today to share some of the experience in colorado and ask the senator from connecticut a question or two. i want to say first how sorry i am to the people of orlando and the people of florida for the tragedy that has befallen them. on sunday morning when i got up and open the paper on my on my device and saw at that time that 20 people had been killed, and then quickly it grew to 50, i could only remember the shock when we had the shootings in the
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aurora movie theater. and i know the senator from connecticut, and the tremendous shock of the killings of these elementary school children in newtown, connecticut. i thought, as i always do when this happens, that my brother and sister could have been in there. or my mother or father could have been in there. my son -- actually my daughter, one of my daughters could have been in there. and the feeling that somebody must have when they know they're never going to see their loved one again. and i was fortunate obviously not to be in that circumstance, but on sunday morning susan, my wife, and i met to take our youngest daughter to camp. and the only thing i was trying to do before we got her there was make sure she didn't see the news, make sure she didn't hear about what happened, make sure that she didn't leave her parents feeling the anxiety they
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felt after newtown happened, the horror that they felt after aurora happened, the knowledge that they're growing up in a country unlike the country we grew up in where children have a reasonable fear that something like this could happen to them. and our experience in colorado, as the senator knows, on july 20, they have the, a gunman walked into a crowded theater in aurora, people that are there just to watch a show, and killed 12 innocent people just like this and the people who were killed on sunday morning or the children killed at newtown. 58 wounded from the gunfire. we lost 12 lives. people full of life and aspirations, loved by family and friends. i've read their name on this floor. i've talked about who they were on this floor. but unlike washington, in colorado our legislators actually rose to the occasion to
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take some tough decisions, which is why i'm asking this line of questions to the senator from connecticut. they got together and they actually strengthened our background check system. colorado's legislature closed the gun show loophole and the internet loophole and required a background check for every gun sale. what's happened? let me give you an example. in 2015, the stronger background check system blocked 7,000 -- i want to be precise about this. 7,714 people from buying guns. that may sound like a lot. 350,000 people applied for guns in colorado in 2015. that's just over 2% of the people that applied for guns. 98% of the people that applied got their guns. by the way, mr. president, i have in my report a report from
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the colorado bureau of investigation that on a monthly basis publishes all of this data so everybody in kro*t, -- in connecticut, in colorado can see what's going on. it has among other things the average wait time, the average time it takes over the internet to get this checked out is nine minutes in colorado. it's nine minutes to get that background check. and more important than the percentage, which, of course, is a low percentage, is who's in the percentage. we have murderers who have been denied guns. we have rapists who have been denied guns. we have domestic abusers in that 2% who have been denied guns. we have kidnappers who have been denied guns. is there anybody who's going to come to the floor of the united states senate and say that colorado is worse off because we've kept guns out of the hands of murderers? or kidnappers or rapists?
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and this isn't mythical. this is the actual fact of what's going on in a western state that has background checks. nobody here can come here and argue that we're not safer because these people who shouldn't have had a gun don't have a gun, this 2%. but in stark contrast, this is what i came to the floor tonight, in stark contrast to what the colorado legislature did after the aurora shooting, this congress has done nothing after newtown, after aurora, after orlando. done nothing. time and again we return to the shooter after a mass shooting yet are unable to do the simple things like close the gun show loophole once and for all. that's not about taking guns away from people who already have guns. that's about keeping guns out of
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the hands of people that shouldn't have guns. and if your state's like my state, that's going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2% of the people who came to get a gun permit or applied for a gun permit. and the least we can do is close the terrorism loophole that allows terrorists on the watch list, or people that are on the watch list to buy a weapon. that makes no sense at all, and i think the american people clearly agree with that. the american people clearly support background checks. 90% of the american people believe we should strengthen the background checks. i would simply close by thanking my colleagues who are here today. it's a particular privilege to be here with my two colleagues from new mexico, and thank the senator from connecticut for his leadership. and i will yield the floor.
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mr. murphy: thank you, senator from colorado. i thank him for his passion on this issue and for again reminding us how personal this is when we think about, especially those of us with children. i would yield for a question without losing my right to the floor, the senator from from -- i'm sorry. the senator from colorado, i yield for a question. mr. bennet: thank you, mr. president. it's pride month, and we have our pride parade this sunday in denver. and for the last ten years that's how we've celebrated father's day. father's day coincides with denver's pride parade. my wife susan and the girls all go. this sunday in the middle of the day my phone rang. my daughter, my oldest daughter was on a civil rights tour of the south with her choir. and we started talking about this. and she reminded me that we missed last year's pride parade
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because we were at the a.m.e. shorter church in denver worshipping with that congregation in the wake of the shootings in charleston. she was the one that had to remind me of that. but once she did, you know, it was another reminder of how searing these experiences are for the next generation of americans. so i thank my colleagues. i yield the floor. mr. murphy: i thank my colleague. he's right, charleston was almost a year to the day. but it's hard to keep track of when these year anniversaries occur because we're now having year and two-year and three-year and four four-year anniversary of major epidemic shootings almost every months; coming up on four years on sandy hook this december. i now yield to a question from the senator from hawaii without
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losing my right to the floor. ms. hirono: i thank the senator from connecticut for yielding for a question without yielding the floor. i want to join all the people of hawaii in expressing our deep sadness and condolences to the family and friends of all those who lost their lives and who were injured in this tragedy in orlando. our entire country shares in your grief. like everyone who has spoken today, i'm saddened and outraged by what occurred in orlando this past weekend. one of the victims, kimberly k.j. morris, moved to orlando from hawaii just two months ago to take care of her mother and grandmother in florida. k.j.'s grandmother emma johnson said -- quote -- "knowing her, she would be trying to help everybody get out instead of running for her life. that's the type of person she is." end quote. the lives of k.j. and others
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were cut tragically short. meanwhile congress has been unable, unwilling to act to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. i want to commend my colleague from connecticut for his leadership on this important issue. he has been on the floor of the senate week after week, month after month calling on us to enact sensible gun legislation to keep our communities safe and to save lives. i shared a transition office with senator murphy in the days following the newtown attack, and i saw his dedication and passion on this issue firsthand. in his first speech on the senate floor, the senator from connecticut said -- quote -- "i never imagined that my maiden speech would be about guns or gun violence. just like i could never imagine i'd be standing here in the wake of 20 little kids having died at
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sandy hook or six adults who protected them. but sometimes issues find you." end quote. we all shared his heartbreak that of all issues, this is the one that found him. but i am proud to stand with him and with all of my colleagues and with all the children, families and communities affected by the gun violence epidemic in our country. i agree with my colleagues wholeheartedly when they say that it is no longer the time for thoughts, for prayers, for reflection. it is a time for action. in hawaii, we have one of the lowest firearm death rates in the entire country. this is not an accident. our elected leaders in hawaii and community have recognized that our laws should balance the interests of responsible gun owners with the interests of public safety. and of course we need to do more, so much more on the
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federal level. i supported the manchin-toomey bill to close the gaping loopholes in our background check system before guns can be purchased, and i also strongly support senator feinstein's bill to prevent people on the terror watch list from purchasing a gun. now is the time for action on these measures. today on this bill before us, otherwise the carnage in our country will continue. this year alone, 6,093 people have been killed by guns in our country. this includes 125 people who are killed by guns in the three and a half days since orlando. 125 more people have died since orlando. if we stood here and provided 6,093 victims a minute of silence, we would be standing here for four days, five hours and 33 minutes. moments of silence are not
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enough. i would like to ask my colleague from connecticut a question. what kind of message are we sending to communities around the country if we once again do nothing to make our country safer? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for the question. i think it's a very dangerous message. i think it's a message about the complete inability of this body to deal with big important questions of the day. there is no doubt we have disagreements. there is no doubt that there is a different approach on this side of the aisle than there is on the other side of the aisle. now, we have proffered the two policy proposals that are the easiest to find common ground on, but there is a host of other things that we would like that we know that is going to be much more difficult to get consensus on the other side. what is so damaging about not doing anything -- and frankly
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what's so offensive about not even scheduling a debate -- is that we are admitting that this place doesn't have the capacity and the ability to deal with the big questions that are on people's minds. people are scared right now, they are scared having watched what happened in orlando and what happened in san bernadino. you heard the letter or the voicemail that senator mccaskill transcribed for us about a 14-year-old girl who didn't know whether she was going to be able to live out her dreams because she thought that gun violence was going to sweep over her community. so it is so damaging to this country to leave people exposed to the potential terror, but it is also damaging to the reputation of this body, which is about as low as you can get already if we don't act. and i yield back for other questions. ms. hirono: thank you for your response. what could be more fundamental a
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job for government than to keep our people and our communities safe? i yield the floor. mr. murphy: thank you. i thank you for yielding back, and i thank you for the questions. i'm thankful that my friend from new mexico, senator heinrich, has joined us, and i would yield to him for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. heinrich: i have several questions that i'd like to ask senator murphy through the chair today, but i want to start by thanking my friend, chris murphy. i am really proud to call him a colleague. i am proud of seeing him take this stand. i'm proud that he is forcing us to have this conversation, and we all get sent here by our constituents to make tough decisions and to find the truth and to find a path forward, and i'm really proud of him for not
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letting this go quietly with just another moment of silence and no action. i think since sunday, most of us have been walking around feeling literally sick to our stomachs with a sickness that's not going away. i know our whole country is just so weary of seeing shooting after shooting and not seeing action and change and something meaningful from all of us. you know, i was really proud to see my constituents fill morningside park in albuquerque and pioneer woman's park in lask in farmington, all to remember the victims in orlando and to say to their families we are not going to forget them and to say that to that entire community
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that when the lgbt community is attacked, really all of us are attacked. and so i came down here because i can't believe that we're going to let this happen again and not change something, and that goes to what i want to ask the senator from connecticut about. i'm here because i know that we can take tangible steps to make our country safer again, steps that are not a burden to gun owners, to gun owners like me, and senator murphy and i have talked about this at length. we're friends, our families are friends, our kids are friends. this is not about creating a burden for law-abiding gun owners. it's not about a threat to the second amendment. what has become clear is that there are simply critical junctures where we have to be able to identify those who would do us harm.
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you know, whether it's a young person drastically losing their way or a potential terrorist who is intent on doing harm to others, there are times when we have to be able to step in. now, it is no secret that i have always believed that law-abiding citizens should be able to own firearms for sport, for self-defense. a lot of new mexicans do just that and do it with incredible responsibility, but i simply can't stand by and let this pass with just another moment of silence. it's personal. you know, as a parent of a 13-year-old, as the parent of a 9-year-old and watching what happened at sandy hook in senator murphy's home state, without believing there must be something more that we can do, i find it so frustrating that kids today in elementary school and middle school have to do things that we never had to do when we
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were growing up, practice sheltering in place and what happens in an active shooter situation. our kids simply shouldn't have to do that. so i think we owe it to the american people to take real action to reduce the violence in our communities, and i truly believe that keeping guns out of the hands of people who are frankly legally prohibited from having them is just such common sense. the fact that we're arguing about this is a little bit unfathomable, but that's all we're talking about with background checks. that's what background checks do. that's what closing the terror gap would do. you know, i can't tell you how many times i have been through the background check process. and i want to ask senator murphy through the chair, if i have to pass a background check to buy a
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deer rifle, why shouldn't firearm sales made on the internet or at a gun show require such a simple procedure that makes sure that law-abiding people have access to firearms and makes sure that people who aren't law-abiding, who have been convicted of a felony, who are on the -- potentially could be on the terrorist watch list, and we're going to talk about closing that gap, why shouldn't we make sure that all of our firearm sales cut a clear and decisive line between the law-abiding and those who have lost the rights through the actions that they have taken? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for his question, and i -- i really appreciate him outlining at the beginning of his question that not only is the senator from new mexico a gun owner, but he's a proud gun owner. he's an active hunter and
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somebody who cares very deeply about second amendment rights. and his question is spot on. why would you have a system that requires senator martin heinrich to go get a background check when you buy a gun at a gun store but not require an individual to get a background check when they buy a gun at a gun show? and the reality is that when this law was passed, the intention was for the background check to cover almost all commercial sales in the country, but it was passed at a time when almost all commercial sales were being done in gun stores. what has happened is since that law was passed, gun sales have migrated, you know, for reasons that you can understand, away from bricks and mortar stores on to internet sales and to these gun shows. and so really all we're asking, i guess, is for the text of the law to -- to basically re-up on
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the original law's intent. we're -- the manchin-toomey bill, for instance, still doesn't contemplate a sale of a gun from a father to a son or from a neighbor to a neighbor to be subject to a background check, but if you were advertising your gun on the internet or you are going to an organized, marketed gun sale, then you should go through that -- that background check. i saw you nodding when senator bennet mentioned that the average background check takes under ten minutes. and so some people say oh, we can't have background checks, it's so onerous. no, everybody has gone through a background check -- who has gone through a background check can tell you that you are by and large in and out of there in a very short amount of time, and frankly the people who aren't in and out of there in a short amount of time, sometimes that's for a reason, and that's important to remember. i yield for additional
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questions. mr. heinrich: well, i want to get to a second question, but i want to say that's absolutely accurate. i can tell you that i don't think it's ever taken me more than 15 minutes to go through that process, and as a law-abiding gun owner, as somebody who has taught my kids how to be responsible with firearms, i don't want criminals to be in possession of firearms. i don't want someone who has been convicted of domestic violence to be in possession of firearms. this is about separating the law-abiding from terrorists and criminals. what could be more common sense? so if you look at federal law, it literally identifies ten categories of individuals who today are prohibited from shipping or transporting or receiving firearms or even ammunition because they have made the -- because we have made the judgment through our judicial system and through our
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laws that they present a threat to public safety. this list includes convicted felons, as it should. it includes fugitives. it includes drug addicts, people who are committed to mental health institutions. it includes undocumented immigrants. it includes anyone who has received a dishonorable discharge from the military, someone who has renounced their u.s. citizenship or someone with a restraining order for domestic violence or misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence. and finally, it includes anyone who is under a felony indictment. and to me the second amendment that senator murphy was speaking of, the second amendment not to the constitution but the second amendment to this bill, it speaks to whether it shouldn't be true that someone who is
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suspected of terrorism should not be considered as unfit to own and use a firearm legally as someone who has been dishonorably discharged or who has renounced their u.s. citizenship. we're talking about people who have gotten on the no-fly list, for example, for some very real reasons. so i want to ask senator murphy through the chair that if the f.b.i. or the intelligence community believes that someone is such an imminent threat, that they are so dangerous that we cannot allow them to board a commercial airliner, shouldn't they also be prohibited from buying a gun or shouldn't we at least let the attorney general flag that sale and do something about it? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for the question. the amendment that's been filed
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by senator feinstein is pretty plain in its wording. it says that the attorney general can deny the transfer of a firearm based on the totality of of circumstances that the transferee represents direct threat to public safety based on the reasonable suspicion that the transferee is engaged or has been engaged in conduct constituting in preparation for, in aid of or related to terrorism. or provided material support or resources thereof. there's thought a single member coming down to this floor and subjecting that people on the no fly list today should be fanny off of it because their right to fly has been abridged or that there are names on the list that shouldn't be. that would be ludicrous. no one is going to suggest that we should -- people who meet that criteria should be allowed to fly in this country so why on earth would we allow them to
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purchase a gun ?l i would -- gun? i would hope our colleagues would take a close look at this language that senator feinstein has filed. it's different from her initial amendment. it's very clear and straightforward that if you have been -- if you are deemed to be a potential threat to the united states because of connections to terrorists, you probably shouldn't be buying dangerous assault weapons. i yield for a question. mr. heinrich: isn't it true to senator murphy through the chair that there are due process protections in this amendment so that if someone were to find themselves on a list, that there is a right to redress so that we ensure not only that terrorists can't simply walk into a gun store or go online and buy firearms but also so that there is due process? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for that question because that's kind of the, you know, the red herring that goats thrown into this mix is that, yes, we all
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agree that we don't think that people who are on the no fly list should get guns but it's about the mistakes that are made there. no, there is -- in senator feinstein's amendment -- i know she'll speak to it over the course of the debate -- there is a process for individuals to remedy any erroneous denial of a firearm. so there is going to be an explicit process set up with which to do that. and, you know, i think senator mccaskill said this earlier. she remarked at the bipartisan reverence that is showered upon law enforcement, and that's wonderful that we support our members of law enforcement, but then why don't we trust them to make decisions about when they have information that would make them very worried about a specific individual buying a firearm. why don't we trust them to make that decision if we all agree that we trust them to make other decisions to keep us safe yielding for additional questions. mr. heinrich: you know, i was
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looking at updated data from the government accountability office that sort of leads to my next question. and it shows that known or suspected terrorists pass a background check to purchase a firearm or to purchase explosives 91% of the time. the terrorists themselves have actually identified this weakness. they know it exists. we see this -- you know, i sit on the intel committee. we look at what they communicate to each other so that we can learn how to make our country safer. there was an al qaeda video in 2011 that literally instructs potential terrorists to take advantage of our incomplete background check system. there have been a number of terrorist attacks in recent years where giving the attorney general the authority to prohibit a suspected terrorist from purchasing a firearm could have at least thrown up meaningful barriers. and i think most notable was the
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horrendous fort hood shooting in 2009 where major nadal hassan was able to pass a background check and buy a handgun, even though he was under an active f.b.i. investigation for links to terrorism. he went on to shoot and kill 13 people. he wowngdzed 30 -- he wounded 30 others. so if we're saying that whole categories of other people present such a public safety threat shouldn't have access to firearms, it -- i just can't believe that we shouldn't at least give the attorney general the ability to putter on the -- put terrorists on the same do not buy list. why wouldn't we do that, senator murphy? mr. murphy: thank you, senator heinrich. it's hard to understand why we wouldn't do that especially when you noted when people on that list go in and buy a gun, they are almost universally successful in walking away with that weapon.
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it doesn't happen very often. let's be realistic about what the numbers are. i think read them earlier and they were from 2004 to 2014, 2,233 incidents where suspected terrorists attempted to purchase a gun. as you said in 91% of those incidents, they were successful. you're only talking about 200 or so incidents a year. those are the ones we know about because those are the ones that went through a background check. we don't know about all the people on the no fly list who tried to buy a weapon successfully online or at a gun show. we know about those that raided about 200 a year. the reality is that terrorists today who are trying to perpetrate attacks on american citizens lately they have not been using a bomb or an explosive device to carry out that attack. they have been using weapons in
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the latest attack an assault weapon. we should just wake up to the weapon of choice of terrorist attackers and adopt this common sense measure. i yield for a question. mr. heinrich: i have one last question for my colleague from connecticut. and this one is probably the hardest one. it's simply why? why is this so hard? you know, i stand here as a gun owner. i have looked at each of these amendments through the lens of what it means to be a law-abiding gun owner in this country with both rights and responsibilities. that's why we have hunter safety before we ever go out into the field as a 12-year-old or a 13-year-old. and i just don't see anything in these two amendments that is an unreasonable burden to someone like myself. so why is it so hard to even have this conversation on the
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floor of the senate? why is it so hard to get a vote and more importantly, why is it so hard to change these policies and these laws, to try to make our country just a little bit safer? mr. murphy: i guess, senator heinrich, if i had the 100 percent correct answer to that question, we probably wouldn't be sitting here because we would probably figure out how to solve it. it's such a unique issue in the american public's fear today where 90% of the american public wants something to happen and this body won't do it. it's only controversial in the united states congress. it's not controversial in people's living rooms. it's not controversial in gun clubs. you sit in a gun club and talk about whether a person who has been suspected of ties to terrorists should be able to buy a gun, there's a consensus there, too. we talked about the cornicopia of reasons of why this doesn't happen. it's part of the story of influence of the gun lobby. it's part of misinterpretation
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of the second amendment. it's part a belief that more guns make people safer in which the data does not show you. it's part an answer in how voters prioritize the things they care about, that the 10% that doesn't agree is calling into people's offices at a level that the 90% aren't. lastly, in part it's an indictment of us. it's an indictment of those of us who have just let business as usual run on this floor, mass shooting after mass shooting. the reason why we have chosen to do something exceptional which is to hold up work on the c.j.s. appropriations bill until we get an agreement to move forward on these two issues is because we have something to answer for here as well. maybe we haven't fought as hard as we should in order to get this done. and this may not get us there. i mean, we still need votes from republicans. we can call for a vote but we ultimately need them to vote yes on that. but at least we are showing the
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american public that we care as deeply as we should about ending this slaughter. i would be happy to yield for a question. mr. heinrich: i want to thank senator murphy for everything you've done on this issue and for not taking no for an answer. i would yield back to senator murphy the rest of my time. mr. murphy: thank you to the senator. i'm so glad to have my neighbor, senator whitehouse, joining us on the floor. i would yield to him for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. whitehouse: i'm delighted to be here and before i ask my question, i'd just want to thank you for what you're doing and i guess my first question would be how are you doing? you've been on the floor for quite a while now. i really appreciate it.
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how do you feel? mr. murphy: senator whitehouse, when i was in my early 20's, i actually ruptured two discs in my back. so i spend a lot of time reworking my back in my later 20's to make sure that that wouldn't happen again. and that rigorous back work to repair my broken discs is paying off, i would say. a senator: would the senator yield for a question? the presiding officer: i would yield to the gentleman from new jersey. mr. booker: you are not asserting you're still in your 20's, would you, sir? mr. murphy: i'm not saying i'm in my 20's but early preventative work has paid off in the long run. mr. booker: i just wanted take clarification. thank you. mr. murphy: yield back to the senator from rhode island for a question. mr. whitehouse: we have some obligations here that we ought to meet and that the american people would support us in
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meeting, and i'm -- my question is that do those obligations include not only strengthening our gun laws to make sure that certain individuals who should not purchase firearms are legally prevented from purchasing firearms, for instance people convicted of violent hate crimes. i think americans agree that that's not a class of people whose defense of their right to purchase firearms. we should be rushing to defend, those who are suspected terrorists on the no fly list, on the terrorist watch list, that seems to be a very reasonable group of people to take out of the list of folks who are allowed to purchase firearms, but if we just do
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those for things and we don't beef up the background checks so that even if we do create a law that protects people who have committed violent hate crimes from being able to buy a firearm and even if we do pass a law that prevents people from the terrorist watch list or the no fly list from being able to buy a firearm, even if those laws are in place, is it not true that if all they have to do is go online to buy a gun, if all they have to do is to go to a gun show to buy a gun that we have failed in our responsibility to protect the american people? mr. murphy: the gentleman is correct. today the estimates are 40% of all gun sales happen outside of bricks and mortar stores. the secret's out that if you can't get a gun because of your criminal record or in this case because of your inclusion on the
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no fly list, then circle back and find another way. all it takes is a quick internet search. all it takes is to plug in and you can get a weapon delivered to you in short order. if we don't close that loophole, that internet and gun show loophole, then simply denying terrorist guns at gun stores is a half measure. mr. whitehouse: if senator murphy would yield for a question, that problem applies to a convicted felon who can right now get around the restriction and go and buy a gun through either of those loopholes from online or from a gun show. it applies to a domestic violence abuser who is ordinarily prohibited but can easily get around it by going to a gun show or buying a gun online. it applies to someone who has been determined by a court to be dangerously mentally ill. so right now we have a system, as i understand it, where if you have been determined by a court
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to be dangerously mentally ill, if you go to a gun shop and go through the regular procedure, then your purchase of the gun will be interrupted but all you have no do is go to a gun show or all you have to do is go online and you get around the restriction. isn't that the state of play right now, even for convicted felons, domestic violence abusers and people who have been adjudicated to be seriously mentally ill? mr. murphy: that is the -- we had senator our din on -- durbin on the floor earlier today telling the horrific tales of chicago in which the strong background checks laws in illinois make almost no difference on the streets of chicago because the weak background checks laws of indiana allow for individuals to go there and buy guns online or at gun shows and then ferry them back into the streets of chicago. and so without that federal law that creates a uniformed
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standard that you need to go through a background check through whatever commercial means you attempt to buy a gun, then there are criminals every single day who are getting their hands on weapons separate and aside, as you said from this question of terrorist access. mr. whitehouse: if the senator would yield for another question. mr. murphy: i would. mr. whitehouse: i have some statistics here that i find a little surprising and i'd love to ask you about your explanation of them. and the statistics that i have are that 76% of gun owners and 71% of national rifle association members support prohibiting people on the terror watch list from purchasing guns. and yet, despite the fact that 76% of gun owners support putting people on the terror watch list on the list that doesn't allow them to buy
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firearms, and despite the fact that 71% of n.r.a. members support putting terror watch list folks onto the ban list for buying firearms, that, nevertheless, the n.r.a. has repeatedly opposed and attempted to block legislation that attempts to close the terrorist watch list gap. do you have an explosion or a thought about why it is that whewhen three-quarters of people take one porks the organization is taking a completely different position from what their members support and from what gun owners support across america? mr. murphy: senator whitehouse, you've asked the $64,000 question in a way, and i can hazard a guess and my guess would be this: that the nature of gun ownership has changed over the years. it used to be that over 50% of americans owned guns and most of them only owned one gun but the
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majority of americans actually owned guns some 30 years ago. today that number is rapidly decreasing, now 30-some-odd percent of americans own guns. it means that the nature of the industry is changing. the industry has to sell a small number of individuals a larger number of weapons. part of the marketing technique by the descrirks and the industry is equated to the n.r.a., it is the industry that funds the n.r.a. in substantial part, part of the marketing necessity of the industry is to create this belief in the government any day approaching your house to confiscate your weapons. so every initiative to just try to enact commonsense gun laws is distorted by the industry as just another attempt to get closer to the day in which black helicopters swoop down on your house and steal away awful your
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weapons. of course, that's not what we're going at here. that has nothing to do with our agenda. we simply want people on the terrorist watch list to not be able to buy gin guns and for criminals no not be able to buy guns. but because the industry needs this perpetual fear of government mured to sell more -- in order to sell more weapons, i think that there has been a desire upon the n.r.a. to not listen to its membership and instead listen to its industry members and feed this sense of dread about the secret intentions of the federal government. mr. whitehouse: and if the senator would yield for another question, it is my understanding that this position that the n.r.a. takes against any and every even very reasonable gun safety measure and very likely for the reasons that you have sididentified -- it is a marketg ploy on behalf of the big industry that pays them to do
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this. but it is my understanding that that applies to a variety of other issues as well. the issue i'd want to ask you about is the issue of high-capacity magazines. now, i am a he a gun owner myself, and i belong to a gun club in rhode island. in order to get access to the range, i had to have a safety briefing by the gun club saying what i could and could not do on the range. saying what the range rules are. and one of the range rules that was imparted to me in the safety briefing is that they don't allow high-capacity magazines on the range. they don't allow them. -- for safety reasons. so if you have gun clubs around the country -- i doubt this is the only one. if you have gun clubs around the country that won't allow high-capacity magazines on the range for safety reasons, at the range itself, and yet here's the
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n.r.a. wildly opposing any effort to limit any high-capacity magazine restriction of any kind, does that follow as part of that same argument, the industry is determined not only to sell more and more guns to a smaller number of people by creating fear that some imaginary black helicopter is going to come and take their guns away but also restricting the limits on high-capacity magazines? mr. murphy: the margins involved for the industry in these very powerful weapons and these large-capacity magazines are big, and so when you are attempting to put together a portfolio in which you are going to make a substantial profit in return for your investors, you've got to double down on things like 150-round drums -- 100-round drums and ar-15-style
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weapons. i don't know every hunter in my state, but i have yet stoil talk to one who feels -- yet still to talk to one who feels they need 00100-round gun. the design of these weapons and the high-capacity magazines that we're referring to are for one purpose: to kill as many human beings as possible. they are military had nature as design. thus, the reason why many gun clubs around the country deny access to this kind of ammunition. it stands to reason that the rationale for continuing to sell this is monetary in nature. mr. whitehouse: and does the senator recall that years ago there was an effort to prevent armor-piercing ammunition from being sold because our police officers, who wear body protection to protect them against armed ac-- assailants we
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they concerned that it would make them very effective at killing police officers whereas it could make no difference in killing deer and elk or anything else. they customarily don't wear armor. but police officers do. police officers have to go into dangerous situations with armed individuals and, therefore, there is considerable pressure to protect our law enforcement officers, to try to put limits on the amount of armor-piercing ammunition that people could buy. if the senator could confirm it, my recollection is that the n.r.a. opposed any limit on armor-piercing ammunition and opposed the law enforcement forces, the local police chiefs and police officers who come to these crisis situations in they're desire to be safe, to be able to tell their families,
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it's going to be okay, honey. i've got protective armor. it is going to help keep my safe, that they took all that away and this was an argument a thighed and they've succeeded. right now armor-piercing ammunition is available as a result of n.r.a. lobbying. mr. murphy: that's certainly the way i remember the events as well. i would note -- i will remember one. many chilling conversations i had in th in the 24 hours after newtown, one with a police officer who remarked this it was a good thing that adam lanza killed himself and didn't engage in a shootout with police because they were not confident that they would be able to survive a shootout with an individual who had that much ammunition and that kind of high-powered capacity in a firearm, separate and aside from armor-piercing bullets, law enforcement has stood with us in our calls to restrict the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition because
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even that, without the armor-piercing bullets, puts them at risk. mr. whitehouse: would the senator yield for one more question? i see my senior senator, jack reed, here and i'm sure he wants to engage in a question and answer with senator murphy. but before that, could i ask one more question. mr. murphy: i yield for one more question. white house in response to our effort to put -- whit. mr. whitehouse: in response to our effort to put people on a terrorist watch list where they're not able to buy firearms in order commit the acts of terror for which they are on the watch thrashings our friends on the other side of the aisle have suddenly come up with a new piece of legislation that they say is designed to address this problem. my question is, do we know if this piece of legislation has ever been seen before? do we know if it has been brought up in committee and given any kind of a review?
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have they built a track record of interest and concern about this issue and built a legislative record to support their bill or does this appear to be something that they whipped out of their pocket at the last minute to try to fend off the sensible provisions that we have long fought for to keep people on the terror watch list from being able to go out and buy high-powered firearms? mr. murphy: it would shock and surprise you to know, senator whitehouse, to know that it appears to be the latter. we had one of our colleagues come down to the floor and suggest that there is a way out of this, that we can come together and work on a compromise. i think all of us -- myself, senator booker and senator bloomer that will -- were happy to take him up on that. but we've had six months since the failure of the last measure to prevent terrorists or suspected terrorists from buying weapons to work on this. and no one in the republican
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caucus has approached us about trying to find common ground t wasn't until we took the floor this morning and shut down the process on this appropriations bill that we started to see movement on the republican side about coming up with an alternative. they did pose an alternative back in december, but it was a miserable alternative that would require law enforcement to go to court in order to stop someone who was on these lists from getting a weapon and cap them at 72 hours to complete that whole process. it was ridiculous and ludicrous. they are probably going to present another alternative. but it is important to note, senator whitehouse, that none of that happened until we took the floor here and we have had six amongsts since the last vote -- months since the last vote. and frankly, three days since the shooting in which we could have been trying to work that out. mr. whitehouse: to the point the senator just made, if he will yield for one final question -- mr. murphy: i yield. mr. whitehouse: when the government would have to go into
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court within 72 hours in order to try to interrupt the sale, presumably that would give the per on the terrorist -- person on the terrorist watch list all sorts of notice about the government's investigative activities and an opportunity in court to do further inquiry into the government's investigative activities and in fact allow somebody who was on the terrorist watch list to have a window into the government investigation that he or she might be the subject of. is that not the way that would play out? it doesn't seem to make much sense to me. mrmover it doesn't seem to make much -- mr. murphy: it doesn't seem to make much sense. who knows what rules apply. who knows what the rights to discovery are. there's no model for it. and we have hamstrung the f.b.i. and the attorney general by asking them to do more and more with the same amount of resources to ask them to go through dozens upon dozens of court processes -- remember,
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there were 240 people on these lists that tried to get guns last year, so you're talking about a lot of court processes that they would have to under-tan take. i-- is totally unrd makes no sense at all. mr. whitehouse: thank you, senator. mr. murphy: thank you, to the senator from rhode island i am glad to be joined by the senator from rhode island, senator reed. i am happy to yield for a question. mr. reed: let me thank you for this extraordinary and principled discussion. i do have a question and it stems really from some of the comments that i've received from the superintendent of state police in i think state of rhode island, colonel steven o'donnell, a skilled professional. what he said and it goes to one of the issues that senator whitehouse discussed, the access to high-capacity magazines for these assault weapons. "i have yet to hear what the
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purpose is. i have friends that are hunters, they use high-capacity weapons but not magazines." they have weapons that can fire semiautomatically, but they don't need these magazines. "they use several rounds, but they don't need 15, 30, and 40-round clips to hurt an animal. ings" is that the response you are getting from law enforcement officials who deal every day with firearms and with, our real experts? mr. murphy: that's the same response we get. i just reflect on one of my earlier responses to senator whitehouse that i've also heard fear in the wake of sandy hook from law enforcement about their ability to combat an individual who is staked out in a school or workplace that doesn't engage in a suicide mission but then tries to confront and take on police, that if you have 30 rounds -- 30-round magazines, 1 coo-round -- 100-round drums, that is very
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difficult to match from law enforcement's perspective. yielding for additional questions. mr. reed: snorks you continually reference military-style assault weapons. frankly, i had the privilege of commanding paratroopers and we were armed with m-16's and it was clear to us -- and this was 30 years ago -- these are military weapons. these are weapons, were designed to mass fire, rapid fire, even in semiautomatic mode, these were not designed as other weapons for hunting. in fact, back in those days we replaced the m-14, which didn't have the same capabilities, much more accurate because what they were looking for was just a sheer volume of fire that can inflict the most casualties possible particularly in
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confined spaces. and either because of woods, because of jungle or because you're in a building. i think your points about military assault weapons are exactly the right point. and you, again like me, have heard this not only from law enforcement professionals but also from military personnel about the nature of this weapon. mr. murphy: it's tragically instructive, senator reed, to think about what happened inside that school in sandy hook. there were 20 kids hit and 20 kids died. these are powerful weapons with the capacity not only to discharge an enormous amount of ammunition in a short period of time but the force of it is unprecedented in the firearms world. there's a reason why not a single child survived.
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these are powerful killing machines that, as you said, were not designed for hunting. they were designed to kill as many people as possible, and that's why you see this epic rate of slaughter when they are used inside schools, inside nightclubs, inside churches. mr. reed: the senator, also, i think has commented and i want to reconfirm it that one of the characteristics of these weapons is even in a semiautomatic mode, there is a high rate of fire and the velocity of rounds is such that they inflict extreme damage. and so even if it's in a semiautomatic mode, you have the ability to deliver devastating fire and coupled with a large magazine, you can keep this fire up. the other point i -- just recollection is that changing a magazine in one of these weapons is a matter of seconds.
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it is not a la bore kwrus task where -- a laborious task where you have to individually load rounds into the weapon. and that too, i think, increases lethality. again, if the senator would comment and krer, the -- and concur, the adoption by the military had a logical military purpose, increase the lethality of the weapons that we are giving to the soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen of the united states. that's not, i don't think, what you and i would like to see in our civilian population, weapons that have major rationale of increased lethality. not accuracy necessarily, not for skill in terms of marksmanship, but simply increase lethality. is that the sense that you have? mr. murphy: it is, senator
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reed. you think about what we are doing today. these individuals who are contemplating lone wolf attacks, they are not building i.e.d.'s in their basement any longer. they're going to the store and buying assault weapons. so we essentially are selling weapons to the enemy. we are selling weapons to the enemy, powerful military-style weapons. we're advertising them and individuals who are contemplating these lone wolf attacks are buying them. and in fact, i've read quotes earlier today on the floor from terrorists, operatives where they are calling on americans to go purchase these weapons and turn them on civilians because it is so easy to get access to them. so this is a very deliberate tactic on behalf of these very dangerous international terrorist organizations. and that's one of the reasons why we think we have to wake up to the new reality of the threat of lone wolf attacks and change our lives.
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mr. reed: will the senator yield again? essentially what our adversaries are doing is exploiting loopholes in our law, and they're doing it very deliberately, very consciously, and we're today standing by and letting them do that. they know where the weak points are, and the weak points are not only can you get these assault weapons. but another point, if i could ask, you made a statement, a significant number of weapons, these weapons are sold without even a background check because they can be done through the internet, through gun show sales, et cetera. we've taken this issue on before, and we've failed to address those issues too. mr. murphy: had we had in place a ban on individuals that were on the terrorist watch list to buy a weapon, it only would apply to bricks and mortar stores. so even if omar mateen was on
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one of those lists and even if we had passed a law that prohibited him from buying a weapon, he would have gone into that store, be told that he couldn't buy a weapon, and then he could have walked right back to his house and gone online and bought one there or waited for the next weekend's gun show, of which there are many in florida, and bought one there. we don't know how it would have played out. but without a pending, an expansion of background checks to people on the no-fly list being prohibited from buying guns. it is a half-measure. i reiterate, these are the two things we're asking for, have consensus on these two issues because they are the right thing to do, as we're discussing. but they also have the support of the american public. mr. reed: a final question, senator, is that it would seem to me that this would essentially deny our fiercest adversaries, those islamic
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jihadists who are using internet to radicalize people. but not only to radicalize them, but without directly controlling their conduct, suggesting to them the way they can get assault weapons legally in the united states. they could arm themselves. and if we take steps, as you would suggest, we can deny our fiercest adversaries of the moment, not only, we hope their proxies here, but certainly the arms for these individuals they hope to recruit and to unleash on the country. mr. murphy: it stands to reason that in the wake of this latest attack, we should wake up to the new tactics of our enemy. and this is the new tactic of our enemy, to go buy these weapons and to use them against civilians. and the genius of what we're
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proposing is that it keeps weapons out of the hands of would-be terrorists without affecting the second amendment rights of anyone else. we're talking about such a small number of sales over the course of the year we're talking about 200-some-odd sales. think about that. 200-some-odd sales that would be affected, that would force someone to be denied a purchase of a weapon because they were on the terrorist watch list. and it stands to reason that we should accept the new tactics of these groups and amend our laws. the senator from new jersey, we've got such a long run of colleagues coming to the floor that we haven't gotten to hear from. the senators from new jersey and connecticut. so i would yield to the senator from new jersey for a question without yielding control of the floor. mr. booker: i appreciate you yielding for a question. i have a number of questions for
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you, senator murphy. but i think you bring up a good point. we have now been at this for about 8 1/2 hours, and we have seen colleague after colleague after colleague. we've worked now through more than the majority of the democrats in this caucus who have stood up and asked senator murphy question after question after question. i want to start before i even give a question, just giving my respect and gratitude to senator murphy. in isaiah, it talks about those who wait on the lord running and not getting weary, walking and not being faint. and i just see the consistency of his efforts, which is not just manifest during this filibuster, which he has been on his feet now for 8 1/2 hours. just not today, but senator murphy, in his maiden speech here in the senate stood right there. i know this because at that time i was still mayor of the city of
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newark. and gave still to this day, for me of all the senate speeches i've heard, probably one of the most eloquent, moving, factual, compelling speeches on gun violence that i have heard. i am grateful today because just yesterday in a caucus meeting that i think my colleagues that are here will agree got very heated, very emotional in which he spoke with passion, as did other colleagues, that he and i began talking about making sure that this was not business as usual. that we didn't go through the same routines in this body every single time there's a mass shooting. and there are mass shootings with greater and greater routine. and you've heard it from my colleagues. it is an insufficient response that our elected leaders should
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simply pray and share condolences. to paraphrase one of my heroes whose picture stands on my wall, frederick douglass, who said i prayed for years for my freedom, but i was still a slave. it wasn't until i prayed with my hands and prayed with my feet that i found my salvation. faith without works is dead. prayer is not enough. and so i stand here first and foremost to, senator murphy, and express my gratitude. we talked during the day. we talked into the night. and chose to be here. i'm grateful for his senior senator who has been here for the entire duration. these two partners from connecticut who went through the unimaginable when they shared the grief of a community where child after child after child, 20 children gunned down and
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murdered, these two men have been dedicated and determined, not yielding, not giving up, not surrendering to cynicism about government or this body, but continuing to fight and fight and fight so that we would do something about this problem. and so the first question i have for senator murphy, this idea that is deep within the history of our nation that when there is injustice -- and there is no greater injustice than the savage murder of our fellow citizens, of murder of innocents. i've seen you time and time again -- and today is a model of courage as well as a model of endurance to take a senate that was prepared to move on, a senate that was prepared to go
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on with business after the greatest, largest mass killing in this nation's history, we were going to go on with business as usual. so my conversations into the night last night where i saw the determination of senator murphy not to let the business as usual go on in this senate. so i have a number of questions for you, but the first one, senator murphy, is there are a lot of people who are surrendering to cynicism about government, a lot of people who are showing frustration. but yet, you are still going on this in a way that reflects those people that didn't give up on the idea of civil rights in the 1940's, in the 1950's and kept pushing legislation, pushing legislation before the 1965 voting rights act, before the 1964 civil rights act, before the consciousness of the country caught up. but this must be frustrating to
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you. i've been here for two and a half years. you've been here longer. and so we came here tonight -- today for a reason. i say today because we're approaching the ninth hour, about a half-hour away from the ninth hour. can you just frame one more time why you are spending your energy doing this now, here, in the senate, especially because i know that perhaps there are people talking about, hey, well, they don't have a shot. they don't have a chance. there are cynics, there are critics, there are pundits probably saying, hey, they may not get a vote. people are putting forth -- the majority of americans, majority gun owners, majority n.r.a. members might agree with senator murphy but the n.r.a. has too much of a hold on the united states senate. why are you rear height now doing this on this day?
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mr. murphy: i thank the senator and i want to thank senator booker and senator blumenthal for being here from the very beginning. this has been myrrh miraculous s own regard not to be -- to just be able to spend time with you but have the majority of the caucus come to the floor and express support for our determination to move forward this debate, to at the very least get votes, but really try to bring consensus around this issue. and senator booker, i don't think i'm breaking confidences to share that both he and i spoke at our meeting yesterday of democrats in which senator booker shared an immensely powerful series of stories about his experience as mayor of a grief-torn city, his direct personal intersection with friends, with neighbors who had lost their l


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